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first elected in 1998 and became a polarizing figure. he was loved and hated at home, respected and ridiculed abroad. >> chavez will be remembered as almost a throw-back. almost an old fashioned latin american strongman. >> reporter: born to a family of teachers in 1954, he joined the venezuelan army where he came to despise the ruling elite. in 1989 when a bad economy led to riots and hundreds were killed, he was appalled by orders from the then president to shoot civilians. inform 1992 chavez, now a lieutenant colonel, led 12,000 troops in a failed coup against perez. chavez was jailed but was pardoned two years later. by then a hero to the left and the poor. in 1998 chavez rode a populist wave to become president. in 2002 he was overthrown but returned to power two days
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later. he was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2006 but was hardly a democratic ruler. using his power to silence opponents and journalists and to nationalize private companies while championing the poor by building schools and health clinics, but critics say his attempts to remake venezuela backfired. >> enormous amount of money spent uselessly. conflicts with the united states. limitations to freedom of the press. throwing position leaders in jail or throwing them out of the country. i think that final balance will not be a positive one for chavez within venezuela. >> reporter: perhaps he was best known for hiss theatrics. on his tv show he sang to the audience. ♪ he bonded with cuba's philadelphia dell castro who became his mentor and embraced iran's mahmoud ahmadinejad.
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he also supported left leaning countries in south america and taunted the u.s. even calling president george bush the devil at the united nations. >> yesterday the devil came here, right here. >> reporter: toward the end of his life he battled cancer and sought treatment in cuba where he was greeted by president castro and photographed several times with fidel castro. after an apparent recovery he was re-elected last fall to his fourth term in office but shortly afterward was felled again by cancer. after further care in cuba, he returned home to venezuela where he spent his final days. hugo chavez, a man of extremes, leaving a dramatic mark on latin america. mark potter, nbc news, miami. good evening. i'm michael smerconish in new york filling in for chris matthews. we will get to the hugo chavez story in just a moment, but our big story leading off tonight,
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the market strikes back. we've heard it all before from the right. president obama hates the free market, he's a socialist. his policies are going to destroy the economy. well, he seems to be doing a pretty bad job of ruining the economy because today the dow closed at an all-time high of over 14,250. that means the dow has more than doubled since its low in 2009. it's not all to the president's credit, of course, and the recovery is uneven at best. but you can be sure that if the dow were in the tank, obama would get the blame. so maybe he should get some of the credit. also, the empire strikes back. could we be looking at another bush run for the white house? jeb bush isn't saying no, and when they don't say no, they often mean yes. add to that bush's apparent shift to the right on immigration, and you can see the outlines of a presidential run. so you know what that means. we could be looking at another clinton/bush election. plus, why was president obama so eager to get past the sequester fight? here is why.
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his job approval is dropping as a result of that mud fight, at least for now. more important, he wants to move on to climate change, to immigration reform, to gun safety. the president's window to claim a legacy is brief and the time is now. and the beat goes on. once again the right wing loves a story so much it doesn't boder to find out whether it's true. finally, mea culpa, mea culpa, mia maxima culpa. jon stewart takes on the media for obsessing about president obama's star wars/star trek mix-up while ignoring john boehner calling taxation theft. but first, more on the breaking news story from venezuela. hugo chavez is dead. the venezuelan vice president made the announcement just moments ago. eugene robinson met and knew hugo chavez when he was foreign editor of "the washington post." eugene, what reaction do you have right off the cuff? >> this is a very big story actually. hugo chavez was a fascinating character who first tried to stage a coup to take power in
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venezuela. that didn't work. he was in the wilderness for several years. he came back, he ran for president, and he became an ally of the castro brothers in cuba and sort of formed this new leftist axis in south america that's had a lot of influence over the last decade in countries like bolivia and countries like ecuador and provided kind of another pole, another sort of not great power but moderate power pole to the counteract the weight of the united states in latin america. >> and, eugene, he was just re-elected this past october, correct? >> yeah. he was just re-elected. the thing about chavez that a lot of people in this country didn't understand was that he had genuine popular support in the country, in a divided country des piedpite a number o
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policy that we would consider, because they are, anti-democratic. in spite of his economic philosophy which was a kind of very personalized socialism. the venezuelan economy suffered greatly. freedom of the press suffered greatly under hugo chavez, but he provided services for the poor with a lot of cuban assistance. he provided medical attention that the poor of venezuela hadn't received before, and, frankly, it was the first time in many decades that a leader had paid that kind of attention to the poor majority in venezuela, and he was very popular. he would have gone on being re-elected i'm confident as long as he lived. >> what, if anything, surprised you in meeting him? to the rest of us we have only seen him on television. when you're up close and person and you were with chavez, what surprised eugene robinson? >> he's very quick-witted.
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it was a visit he made to washington shortly after he became president, and i remember he came to "the washington post," and there were several of us waiting to greet him. i didn't know if he spoke english at the time, so i introduced myself to him in spanish when he got to me in the line, and he shook my hand and looked up at me and kind of grinned and said, hello, my name is hue. it kind of cracked everybody up. he was very loose and quick in that way. he had this odd television show that he did. this was, of course, before he fell ill, but he would do a television show for hours every week. i believe it was on sunday nights called "hall ovenlt presidente," hello mr. president. and it was this stream of consciousness talk show where he would sing and he would just kind of rant for a while and he would joke. he would answer callers. it was just a very kind of odd
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idiosyncratic way for the leader of a, you know, an important oil-producing country to act, but that was hugo chavez. >> and you frame him in the context partially of the castro brothers and one looks at their ages. a lot of change coming in that part of the world as well. >> absolutely. it is remarkable that fidel castro has outlived ten u.s. presidents, also has outlived hugo chavez, his protege now. the relationship between venezuela and cuba is very interesting. venezuela provided the oil that kept the cuban economy and thus the castro regime afloat for years, and the castro brothers provided ideology, advice, security assistance. it was always said that the cubans had organized chavez's own personal security detail and
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something that the cubans are very good at. now fidel castro is well into his 80s. he's no longer the president in cuba. his brother raul has already announced that he intends to leave office after his five-year term. so there is going to be big change in both these countries, and the question is which way these countries go. do they go -- does venezuela go the cuban route toward a purer kind of ideology or does it move away to a more -- to a less socialist, more social democratic sort of model that might edge it back into the better graces of the united states? that's going to be very interesting to watch. >> eugene, thank you for your perspective. >> my pleasure. >> we'll have more as we
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continue. now, president obama and the economy. "the washington post's" ezra klein is an msnbc policy analyst and ben white is politico's chief economic correspondent. gentlemen, while an imperfect measure of the overall u.s. economy, the dow jones is still what many americans look to in order to measure the health of the stock market, and today it reached a new high adding roughly 126 points in trading. it means that since 2009, the low points of the recession, the dow has more than doubled which has surprised many market watchers. ezra, good news for all or just good news for some? >> well, look, it's good news that the dow is coming back. i want to throw some cold water, i want to be a bit of an unfortunate buzz kill. the dow jones is a little weird in that it doesn't adjust for inflation which is how we would always do a calculation like this. if you adjust for calculation which you need to do to see the real value the dow is at a lower point than it was in '09 and in 2000. so this is not great. so there's not quite the huge
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disparity between the actual economy and the dow that would be implied by the dow hitting a new high. it's lower than it was in 2000 and the actual economy, the labor market is 7.9% unemployment. so it has been a better time to be in the stock market than to say be unemployed, but it is not -- we are not on such a rip roaring good stock market run here that we should see the kind of gulf that i think is being implied in some of the commentary here. >> ben, i'm sure at the white house they're elated over the market, but by the same token doesn't it undercutle arguments politically speaking that have been made by sequester. wall street apparently has a big harumph to the reaction about the sequester. >> they are happy about a stock price that is running but you're right. in terms of their arguments for the sequester and the impact they said it would have on the economy, it would have on people's lives, a dow at record highs is not very good for that intellectual argument. it doesn't feel to people like the sequester is really hitting
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very hard if the dow and other stocks are rocketing to new highs. ezra is absolutely right. we shouldn't be putting on our dow 36,000 hats anytime soon. we're not at inflation adjusted level of where we were in 2000. remember, this is partly the result of $3 trillion in stimulus from the federal reserve pumped into the economy, into money markets which tends to drive people into stocks. it takes them out of loss risky assets. every time the feds do this we have a rocketing market. >> it's been a jobless recovery thus far. where are the jobs is still the refrain that one could ask. capitalism is working for the corporations represented on the dow jones industrial average. >> i think that's right. look, again, i don't want to go so far as to say jobless because we have created a couple million in the last couple years and unemployment has fallen from around 10% to around a little under 8%. but your broad point is right. we have not had a quick recovery and we've not had a sufficiently broadly shared recovery. the number i find striking here is there was new data that came
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out of berkeley the other -- couple weeks ago that the top 1% has enjoyed 121% of the income gains of the recovery. so you might wonder how can they get more than 100% of the gains? and the answer is that the bottom 99% has lost some income share during the recovery. so we're seeing three problems. one is slow growth. the other is growth that when we get it is not broadly shared and is not translating as quickly into job gains as we would like to see. there is a somewhat broken transmission mechanism in the economy and to the point about the stock market, while i don't think the dow as ben said we should be putting on our party hats, it's a case of corporate profits have been at near record highs and that's happening at the same time we're not seeing real job growth. there is a significant and sharp break between corporations and the people who are running the corporations and the average worker and that's worrying. >> ezra, thank you for your time. ben, we appreciate you being here as well.
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coming up, it sure looks like jeb bush is thinking about running for president in 2016 and that could mean a clash of the titans. another bush versus clinton election. this is "hardball," the place for politics. 's impressive? a talking car. but i'll tell you what impresses me. a talking train. this ge locomotive can tell you exactly where it is, what it's carrying, while using less fuel. delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say? ♪ the people of bp made a somecommitment to the gulf., and every day since, we've worked hard to keep it. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy. we've shared what we've learned, so we can all produce energy more safely. bp's also committed to america. we support nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs and invest more here than anywhere else.
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we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. recapping the breaking news this hour, venezuela's president hue ga sha krez is dead. he lost his two-year battle with cancer. the fiery and feisty leader rose to power in 1999 and was popular at home winning re-election late last year. he was frequently a thorn in the side of washington. hugo chavez was 58 years old. ♪ ♪ no two people have the same financial goals. pnc works with you to understand yours
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welcome back to "hardball." what are the odds that we could wake up in november of 2016 to the news that the next president of the united states has a very familiar last name? as it bush? well, the lebs is still a long
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way off, of course, but the prospect that another bush might at least run for the highest office seemed a bit more likely after a recent round of interviews in which jeb bush was talking about his new book. take a look at what he said to nbc's chuck todd. >> you're being much more open about considering national office than i have ever heard you before. what's different this time? >> well, i'm not saying yes. i'm just not saying no. >> that's what's so different. you used to be pretty definitive. >> so 2008 i was asked about it, and i said heck, no. it wasn't the right time, in 2012 is wasn't either. this may be the wrong time, too, i don't know. it's way too early to go through that process four years out. >> but i guess what is your motivation to at least not shut the door this time? what's different this time than shutting the door before? >> i have accomplished some things in my life that allow me now to have that kind of discretion to be able to think about it. >> "the washington post's" chris cillizza points out that jeb bush's recent high visibility
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makes a strong case he's strongly considering making a run. quote, this was jeb's less than subtle signal to donors that he's seriously considering 2016 and he sent it in a way that marco's sure not to miss. that, of course, refers to senator marco rubio, also of florida, who is considering a bid of his own. if he decides to run, will jeb bush be the front-runner in the republican field or will the recent flab over his contradictory statements over immigration dent his public image? michael steele is the former chair of the republican national committee and an msnbc political analyst, and ron reagan is an author and msnbc political analyst. michael, is he your front-runner if, in fact, he gets into it? >> i believe he is. very much like hillary for the democrats would be an automatic front-runner. i think jeb has a great deal of gravitas in the republican party. i know that there were a lot of folks pining for him to enter the race in 2012, and obviously 2008 as well. so i think he's right, i think he's taken his time. he's measured himself on these
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things and i think he's now gik to put out there that you noted in setting this segment up, the conversation with donors as well as with activists around the country. i think he needs to be a little bit careful in how he does that obviously. he's already kind of got a little left foot/right foot problem on immigration which he needs to correct i think fairly quickly before it snowballs, but it's jeb, and i think he brings a lot of juice to the table. >> jeb bush's position on one of the most contentious components of immigration reform, backing a path to citizenship, seems to have undergone a bit of a transition. in this book he makes a strong case against it. he writes, it is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences. in this case that those who violated the laws can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship. to do otherwise would signal once again that people who circumvent the system can still obtain the full benefits of american citizenship. it must be a basic prerequisite
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for citizenship to respect the rule of law. now, that's a far cry from what he said last year, as late as last summer, presumably when he was writing this book, when he was seen as one of his party's most progressive voices on immigration. listen to what he told charlie rose back in june. >> you have to deal with this issue. you can't ignore it, and so either a path to citizenship, which i would support, and that does put me probably out of the mainstream of most conservatives, or a path to legalization, a path to residency of some kind. >> ron reagan, read the tea leaves for me. he seems more hardened now in his resolve against a path towards citizenship. you'd expect the reverse, i think, given the direction of his own party in the last couple weeks and months. >> yeah, it's very difficult to read him on this as you pointed out. first he was for the path, then he was in the book against the path, and now he's maybe for some kind of path again. he's kind of delicately straddling the fence.
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i think what he has no mind are who he may be the -- the opponents he may be running against in the primary in 2016 foremost among them perhaps marco rubio, a fellow floridian and somebody who has come out with his own path to citizenship immigration plan. he's trying to kind of play off of marco rubio to a certain extent. the larger problem for him, of course, is the larger problem for the republican party. there's an argument there whether their issue is really marketing or substance. so ask yourself, does jeb bush help them with marketing or with substance? as a marketing ploy, i think bush 3.0 is a mistake. i don't think it says moving into the future. substantively, well, the jury is still a little out there. he seems uncertain on immigration, which is a low hanging fruit issue frankly for the republicans. let's see how he does on income inequality or marriage equality and things like that. >> michael, on this issue of immigration and his position, in recent interviews jeb bush semds to walk back a big his recent
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opposition to granting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. take a look at what he told chuck todd on that issue. >> i think it caught me off-guard and it undercuts what wear trying to do. >> sorry about that, it was obviously lindsey graham and not what he was saying to chuck todd. the flip-flopping relative to the republican base, how do you see that playing? >> well, i think jeb has an opportunity here. much to ron's point on the substance, to really move the party in a different direction and off the particular pinhead it's on right now on immigration to a broader, you know, acceptance of the party of assimilation which we have always at least been historically, this idea that you are all welcome to this great land of opportunity, and i think he has a chance to carve that out. you know, don't try to out, you know, mar are mashco rubio or be more conservative than. if jeb bush is himself and is comfortable in this skin in his space as we have seen him up to
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this point, don't let the prospects of running for the presidency change you into something you're not. you run into the mitt romney problem, and then it's downhill from there. be himself and bring the party to your reasoning on this subject and i think, i think quite honestly people will be surprised at the response. >> ron, do you think that american voters have the ability to judge him on his own merits without looking at his brother or his father for that matter? it asks a lot, does it not? >> it does. in a word no. i mean, we'd like to think that you could and i'm sure many people can, but basically that bush name is going to be a big albatross around his neck ultimately. i don't think a lot of people out here, certainly out here on the west coast, are just sitting around waiting for jeb bush to show up. you know, he's got a tough road ahead of him. >> michael, do you buy into that? i think the world of 41. i don't know about the legacy of his son, but 41's legacy is rock
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solid at least in my view. how does this play? >> i think your view is the accepted view inside the party and across america, and i think ron again is on point when he raises the question of how this plays for the average voter. this is, again, the reason i think jeb has an opportunity to do a number of things. carve out fresh space on a very hot topic like immigration and rebrand, if you will, you know, the bush name if that's possible, but know it's going to be an uphill climb and know it's going to be very difficult. the country looking at a clinton/bush election in 2016, i don't know how they feel about that. we'll see. >> how do you think it plays, ron reagan, relative to marco rubio. all of a sudden the attention being focused on illegal immigration, they're both from the same state. what is rubio's reaction to this? >> well, i think marco rubio's probably chuckling a little bit to himself because, again, on a low-hanging fruit sort of issue like immigration, jeb bush seems to have kind of cdone a romney. can anybody describe what his actual position on immigration
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is at this point? is it his book? is it what he said before? is it what he's saying now, whatever that is? you know, it's a little confusing, isn't it? >> just the fact he's publishing a book at this time seems like it's painting my numbers, the first thing you do when you're getting ready. thank you, michael steele. thank you ron reagan, as always. we'll be back right after this. here, it's found in many forms. it's in the pristine sands of a perfect beach.
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more now on the breaking story late today. the death of vendsian president hugo chavez. nbc's mark potter is with us from miami. mark, i guess not entirely unexpected. he's been sick for a while. >> reporter: no, but it still comes as a shock. he has, indeed, been sick for a while, but this is a shock to the venezuelan people. many of them had been holding out hope that somehow miraculously he would recover and return as president. many people there hated him, but many people there loved him. and they were counting on him to recover. but that did not happen as was announced today about an hour
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and a half ago. venezuelan vice president nicholas ma dare row announced at 4:25 caracas time that, indeed, venezuelan president hugo chavez had died at the military hospital in ka ra cass. ma dare row appealed for calm. he guaranteed peace would be maintained and he also said extra security would be put on the streets. chavez had returned to venezuela on february 18th after a battery of treatment in cuba. cancer treatments. he had announced on december 9th that his cancer he had been treated for in 2011 had returned. another tumor had returned. on the 10th he went to venezuela. on the 11th he received his first of the battery of treatments. for the next 2 1/2 months, no one heard from chavez. he did not speak, although there were mixed reports from cuba on how he was doing. at times it was said that he was doing fine, that he was recovering, he was looking good, and then there were reports that he was in dire straits and that
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the end potentially could be near, at least that was assumed to those who were reading the tea leaves. many said that he was still some said at some time that he was actually still giving orders as president even though he had not been sworn in after winning re-election in october to his fourth term as venezuelan president. he was not sworn in because of those cancer treatments again on february 18th, he returned to venezuela and did not speak. he was still not heard from. the only evidence that he was alive were some pictures that were released from cuba showing him holding the daily newspaper, but that was it, and now this announcement from venezuela that he has died. >> how might his passing impact the relationship between the united states and venezuela? >> reporter: well, of course, the hope in the united states is that it will help improve the relationship, and there has been reporting that u.s. officials have been trying to make entrees
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with the mat darrow government. the answer to your question may be determined by what happens in the next month when there's an election as required by the venezuelan constitution. within 30 days there must be an election, and the likely candidates are ma dare row, the current vice president who will become the president now, an interim president, and enriquek april las, the opposition leader who lost to chavez in the october election. if he wins it's believed that the relationship with the united states will be much better than it is now, but there is some hope that if ma dare row wins, given the bad relationship between venezuela and the u.s. over time, that there can be a softening, a warming up. after all, a lot of this is about oil, and even with all the problems between the u.s. and venezuela, venezuela never cut off oil to the united states. there was always that relationship, always that open door, and there is still some hope that maybe that can be
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improved. >> mark potter, thank you very much for your report. up next, president obama is eager to put the sequester fight behind him, and here is why. his approval rate has taken a hit. how does he turn the page? that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. dentures are very different to real teeth. they're about 10 times softer and may have surface pores where bacteria can multiply. polident kills 99.99% of odor causing bacteria and helps dissolve stains. that's why i recommend polident. [ male announcer ] cleaner, fresher, brighter every day.
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bob will retire when he's 153, which would be fine if bob were a vampire. but he's not.
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♪ he's an architect with two kids and a mortgage. luckily, he found someone who gave him a fresh perspective on his portfolio. and with some planning and effort, hopefully bob can retire at a more appropriate age. it's not rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade. i'm seema mody with your cnbc market wrap. as you heard earlier, a new record high for the dow. the average surpassing its peak set back in october of 2007. the s&p 500 up 14, and the nasdaq gaining 42. as it stands now, the dow is nearly up 9% so far this year helping boost stocks today an upbeat report on the services sector. ahome prices rose nearly 10% in
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january over a year ago levels. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." ♪ wshg back to "hardball." if there's unanimity on anything in washington it's that everybody is tired of talking about the sequester. possibly no one more so than president obama particularly because it's siphoned momentum away from issues he wapts to make signatures of his second term. in both his inaugural address and the state of the union he outlined the specific goals that he has for the country. >> we will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. overwhelming majorities of americans, americans who believe in the second amendment, have come together around common
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sense reform like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving hopeful immigrants, and right now leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, faith communities, they all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform. now is the time to do it. now is the time to get it done. >> and with the president's picks for energy secretary and epa head, we're getting a glimpse of how he may achieve his goals. today's "washington post" notes that obama's second term cabinet members will have bigger roles and more latitude for action. quote, obama will rely on these new nominees, several of whom have experience in the agency they have been picked to lead, to identify the levers of
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executive power they can wield quickly. joining me is eugene robinson and jonathan alter. both are msnbc political analysts. jonathan, what's doable from that list? >> well, i think a lot of it is doable. you know, he's throwing a lot of things against the wall to see what sticks. it's important to remember though that we're not going to move to that agenda right away because, you know, not to get too down in the weeds, but what they call the continuing resolution, which is basically the budget to keep the government open, is going to come up at the end of this month. so we have at least three more weeks of a lot of arguments about the sequester and about the larger budget issues. you saw that today the white house canceled all white house tours saying that it was the sequester that was to blame. that's really going to get the attention of congressmen because they use those tours for their
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constituents. but once we get into april and may, you're going to see the president shifting more to these other issues that are on his agenda. >> eugene, that's not too optimistic of a look forward from jonathan because, you know, it seems like these manufactured crises, by that i mean those that they just refuse to work together to resolve, they keep coming up and up, and i don't frankly see an end in sight. >> no, they keep coming and coming and coming, and so anything that requires action from congress is sort of held hostage to these periodic crises that we seem to have to have. now, there are some things, the president did say that when he can't get congress to act, he will do what he can through executive action, and one thing that is sort of teed up for him is climate change. specifically, through the environmental protection agency's regulatory power
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limiting carbon emissions at power plants, which is a huge thing that he theoretically could do when he feels he has the political capital to do it. >> in other words, that story from "the post" today acknowledging that he intends where possible to end run congress and get these things done on his own time. >> that's right. you know, he does have executive powers. remember when congress wouldn't act on the dream act on immigration. he essentially decreed a version of the dream act himself through his executive powers, and he has -- he can do that on some of these issues but not all. a lot of this agenda will require legislation to get through congress, and that's a heavy lift. >> jonathan, in his press conference on friday, the president was pretty exasperated. he admitted the limits of presidential power. let's watch this moment. >> you're saying this is a republican problem and not one that you bear any responsibility
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for. >> well, julie, give me an example of what i might do. i have offered negotiations around of that kind of balanced approach, and so far we've gotten rebuffed because of what speaker boehner and the republicans have said is we cannot do any revenue. we can't do a dime's worth of revenue. so what more do you think i should do? >> the new yorker's ryan lizza brot of that exchange, quote, all president's come to appreciate the limits of power of their office but rarely do they ventilate such thoughts in public. jonathan, is that how you read what you heard from the president last friday? >> yeah. i mean, as he said, you know, he can't have a jedi mind meld with congress. you know, the great editor charlie peters said that to claim that the president should, quote, work his will on congress, which is what you hear a lot of people saying, is like saying that a man should work his will on a woman, or a
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husband should work his will on a wife. it takes two to tango. at a certain point if the congress doesn't want to go along with him, in our system there's not that much he can do about it and he really can't blame him. he can only go so far. does he need to use other tools at his disposal to try to, you know, bring them in to work with people below the level of the leadership? absolutely. and he did not do enough of that in his first four years. you saw him have john mccain and lindsey graham in for a private conversation this week. to me that was a very good sign. it's very important that they keep talking to each other and maybe on some issues like immigration they can make some progress. >> and, eugene, politically speaking the white house already starting to lay plans for what's going to happen in 2014. they need 17 seats to take control. that's a tall order. it would have to be clinton-like in terms of its achievement. >> it's a very tall order,
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particularly after redistricting has made a lot of safe districts for the republican majority. it's very difficult to draw a map and look at it and see how they pick up those 17 seats. then again, we're getting used to some pretty big swings in the house. >> no doubt. >> and not all anticipated. >> thank you. >> it happens. >> thank you. >> you gene robinson. thank you, jonathan alter. up next, it's happened yet again, the right wing falls for another story without checking into whether it's true. this is "hardball," the place for politics. her recipe with sharon, who emailed it to emily, who sent it to cindy, who wondered why her soup wasn't quite the same. the recipe's not the recipe... ohhh. [ female announcer ] ...without swanson. the broth cooks trust most when making soup. mmmm! [ female announcer ] the secret is swanson. thto fight chronic. osteoarthritis pain. mmmm! up next, it's happened yet . today, you will know you did something for your pain. up next, it's happened yet
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late today the senate intelligence committee approved president obama's pick to run the cia, john brennan. the vote came after the obama administration provided the committee access to the top secret legal opinions that justified drone strikes against terror suspects. still, some key senate republicans are threatening to oppose brennan's confirmation unless the white house provides classified information about the september 11 attack in benghazi, libya. the nomination now goes to the full senate later this week. we'll be right back. ♪ [ male announcer ] how could switchgrass in argentina, change engineering in dubai,
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looks like the right wing media may be at it again, failing to fact check a story that makes a democrat look bad. remember last november when the conservative website the daily caller reported that senator robert menendez paid prostitutes for sex in the dominican republic? today "the washington post" reported that the prostitute who said menendez paid her for sex is recanting her story saying she was pat to make up the whole thing. the fbi has no evidence to back up allegations against the senator. menendez told fox news this is part of a plan to sabotage him. >> i can only say what i have said from the very beginning, that nameless, faceless, anonymous sources through right wing blogs drove into the mainstream a story that was absolutely false. that these were smears that began during my election process, and that increasingly become obvious that that's what they were.
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smears and an attempt to affect the results of an election. >> but the daily caller is standing by its story saying "the washington post" is talking about the wrong prostitute. quote, the prostitute in the post's story does not appear to be one of the women we interviewed in 2012. in addition, the attorney for the d.c.'s sources has said the post's allegations are fabricated and that the affidavit is false. jim warren is the washington bureau chief of the new york daily news. carol len anything is with "the washington post." let me begin with you because you wrote that story with responded or debunked what the daily caller has said thus far. what do we now know? bring me up to speed in this regard. >> what we now know is one woman who is an escort in the dominican republic, and one man in the dough minute condition republic, have gone to dominican authorities, sought immunity from prosecution, and have sworn in affidavits that they were
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hoodwinked into making a tape of some sort where they recited a script about having sex for money with senator menendez and also a wealthy donor friend of his. the woman says she didn't realize she was being taped and also said she was approached and paid to make these statements and read them aloud. >> paid by whom? do we know? >> yes. she knows who paid her. it is the first lawyer who has also made another sworn affidavit. his name is mr. galvan according to the affidavit in the dominican court. he says he also was hoodwinked. he was told by another lawyer to please make this tape, that he was a divorce lawyer and needed help in corroborating the infidelity of a particular person, and he needed just somebody to say it on tape and could he arrange to find these women and get them to say this. >> jim, what's going on with
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these been a number of them. one of them stems from an interview someone at your paper did. is it laciness or deliberate willfulness? >> i think it's a mix of laziness and the override of technology. nobody has a monopoly on this desire we all to be first. but the inherent tension, michael, between that desire to be first particularly in the online world and accuracy in fairness is substantial. i don't want to get too pedantic. who had gained a reputation and deservedly so for impersonating chicago police officers so that over the years he could get artifacts included photos from
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families grieving over the death of a loved one. but fast forward to today and i really do think you see this tension between a lot of ideologically driven media and being provocative and interesting is a whole lot more important than being correct. you see that every day. >> the story i was making reference to was the shocking story that now defense secretary chuck hagel received speaking fees from a group called friends of hamas. and breitbart tv ran with it even though it wasn't true. even members of congress chimed in before everybody found out it was false. here's senator rand paul on the hugh hewitt radio program. >> let me bring up one piece of information that breitbart put out today. which is one of the foreign funders behind senator hagel that he has not yet disclosed is something called friends of hamas. if that is, in fact, true, would
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that lead you to vote against mr. hagel? >> you know what? i saw that information today also. that is more concerning. with each day there's more things coming out. >> it needs to get into the public domain by virtue of the send key then it's treated as if it's legitimate by media and politicians. >> i think, you know, what's important here is two things at once. there were a lot of salacious allegations made about senator menendez and many people in the media wanted to figure out if it was true. at the washington post we were interested in figuring out if there was evidence of this and we wrote a story a couple of weeks ago about the fbi agents on -- in the caribbean interviewing people. and basically coming up with nothing. and that made us intrigued. on the other hand, i have to say there are other reasons for senator menendez to be under scrutiny that we've written about which has to do with his
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relationship with a donor. >> and alleged lobbying. >> right. his not disclosing the plane trips with dr. melgin while trying to interview on his behalf. what got this going were the salacious allegations. and those at least right now don't seem to be checking out. >> and thank you both. thank you jim warren and karen lennic. when we return, let me finish on why warren buffett is bullish on something most aren't. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. take these bags to room 12 please. [ garth ] bjorn's small business earns double miles on every purchase every day. produce delivery. [ bjorn ] just put it on my spark card. [ garth ] why settle for less? ahh, oh! [ garth ] great businesses deserve unlimited rewards. here's your wake up call. [ male announcer ] get the spark business card from capital one and earn unlimited rewards. choose double miles or 2% cash back on every purchase every day. what's in your wallet? [ crows ]
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let me finish tonight with this. warren buffett is one of america's wealthiest and most successful businessmen. such is the interest that buffett commands that even his secretary's tax rate can spark a political debate. has a market capitalization of $250 billion and employees 288,000 people. it has holdings in everything from geico to burlington northern to candies. buffett just released his annual letter to berkshire stoke holders. in 2012 berkshire achieved a total gain for shareholders of $21.1 billion. that's a profit that buffett called subpar. guess what he's bullish about. newspapers.

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Hardball With Chris Matthews
MSNBC March 5, 2013 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

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